• Enrique
    126


    That's a naturalistic account. It is simultaneously cynical, patronising and inadequate (not on your part but as a cultural perspective). I think it's more that the ancients, or rather, pre-moderns, did not have a sense of themselves as being separated from or apart from nature in the way that we do. And that sense of separateness in turn comes from viewing humans from an objective perspective. — Wayfarer

    Not sure if you're going to read all of this, but some more detail to discuss. These historical blurbs aren't entirely adequate, but maybe you can help me figure some more stuff out.

    I probably generalized so much in my previous post that it came across as naive about the undoubtedly intricate nature of real causality. I would certainly say I've never put together based on my readings an exact timeline of human psychical/cultural development, if that's even possible. Some cultures are probably more prone to viewing the environment as spiritual, and some less, along with individuals. Looking at the topic from a perspective internal to rationale rather than in terms of cognitive structure with its reliance on physicalist modular notions, this is the basic idea I have at my current stage of comprehension:

    The mystery of animateness in humans and animals has perennially fascinated Homo sapiens, and since it is not at all clear where the line should be drawn between inanimate mechanism and intention, especially in pre-scientific worldviews, we have tended to attribute soul to nature in general. Prehistorically, humans had a runaway instinct to interpret unexplained motion, in spontaneous phenomena such as the sunrise and the weather, as instigated by invisible spirits, with the perception of voices and apparitions in nature reinforcing this inclination. We see and hear the signs of vitality in ourselves and the creatures in relation to which this ability to predict and anticipate intention proves fruitful to our existence - the avoidance of the territorial haunts of dangerous predators, for hunting, etc. - and our psyches presumed intention in the atmosphere, water and all motivity. The cosmos seems intuitively to be an expression of spirit rather than a mechanistic system of interrelated variables in the absence of ubiquitous technologies fashioned from natural resources and stimulating our reinterpretation of them as inanimate appendages of our own mentality. Without precisely demarcated concepts of self, psychology and matter, everything seems as alive as we are.

    So I'd claim that the prehistoric mindset viewed spirit as universally infused into experience, with no conceptual distinction made between technical procedures and what moderns would call supernatural.


    As for how this transitioned into philosophy, my basic conception:

    The first philosophical analyses were of a type that can be called naive realism, originating at roughly the advent of ancient Greek written records. Artistic creativity, spirituality and beliefs about existence had been intertwined in one and the same sorts of cultural expression stretching all the way back to ancient prehistory, an organic outgrowth of inspired human nature during which libido was discharged, the experience of beauty realized, and a maturing sense of truth communicated in symbolic form.

    As technology took a great leap forward at the adoption of Neolithic farming village lifestyles with their greater demand for finely crafted tools and wares, their specialized occupational division of labor, and intensified analysis of novel ideas and techniques to meet the need for detailed explanation and intellectual exchange, written forms of truth purveyance also became enriched and increasingly systematic within an initial aesthetic medium of poetic verse. The first philosophy was Greek poetry, which underwent a gradual transition from symbolic metaphor to materialistic theory as the meaning and nature of the cosmos morphed into the substance of the cosmos and then into its constituent elements.


    To my knowledge, the first philosophies were extremely materialistic, but not derived from systematic observational methods like those of modern science. The first philosophers such as Thales performed thought experiments with concepts like the four elements. Cultures beyond ancient Greece such as China had similar concepts, maybe altogether classifiable as a proto-atomism. As thinkers attempted to progressively generalize to essences, the literature became more metaphysical, the "One" of Parmenides, "logos", Mesopotamian sorcery-based philosophies, introspective Buddhist concepts of universal consciousness, etc. I think Plato's thinking involves a proto-psychological form/matter dualism, with ideas being instantiated forms. Aristotle expanded on Plato's theories by trying to analyze exactly how forms such as ideas relate to matter, arriving at the paradigm of hylomorphism.

    Concepts of soul like neo-Platonic emanation theory existed throughout antiquity and the Middle Ages. It was the reintroduction of Aristotle's naturalism to Medieval Europe and then the movement of Ockamist nominalism that produced the modern paradigm of theoretically modeling nature, which was one of the motivations for invention of observation-enhancing technologies such as the telescope and the microscope, along with the development of better mathematical techniques such as Newton's calculus and an analysis of uncertainty by the likes of Descartes and Hume.

    The form/matter distinction probably became mind/body dualism as anatomy advanced and synthesized with progressing paradigms of matter as technologyesque mechanism, leaving concepts of soul, preserved as sacred, in the dust. Philosophers regarded humans as unique in having a rational faculty in addition to the appetitive and vegetative processes of organic life in general, and completely broke through the "inaccessible soul" barrier with the European Enlightenment concept of transcendent universal reason and its secularized support for universal morality. A lot of time was spent refining this concept of rationality, from the Early Modern period to the 19th century. Locke's ideas of the understanding and Kant's categories of reason are instances.

    In 19th century Europe, the concept of unconscious will evolving within arational economic, biological and cultural contexts came into vogue. Freud's concept of libido was probably derived from this paradigm, and he introduced psychological science, analysis of the human mind as composed of arational modular processes instead of a transcending rational structure. The challenge of philosophy of mind and neuroscience has been to reconcile modularity of the psyche with the modularity of brain and body in an all-encompassing theory of consciousness.


    So to summarize, I think at the beginning of civilization human concepts of truth were not at all irrational but somewhat unintegrated. We had the capacity for complex technological practice, but concepts and proto-expressions of natural principles, the philosophical applications of symbolical systems, were extremely metaphorical and imprecise, more artistic than technical, so that we had to force by sheer willpower a connection in individual minds between the symbolic features of essentializing thought and those of more ingrained technological thinking in a multi-generational cultural process that produced technical discourse with its historical dimension. I don't view the idea that modern truth and related thinking differ from the prehistoric variety as cynical or patronizing. These earlier humans had the capacity to think in modern ways, but lacked the cultural conditioning to mold their minds into so to speak "modernization". This seems to me the basic developmental stages in the incarnation of our so considered "objectively true" reality.

    Spirit in technology and belief transitioned into systematic matter and transcendent soul conjoined by forms as ideas. Matter became mechanistic, ideation became systematic reason, reason was bracketed as a subsidiary of arational will, and psychology developed an arational anatomy of the mind that moderns are trying to harmonize with anatomy of the body and material mechanisms in general.

    Much cognitive dissonance.
  • Harry Hindu
    2.7k
    The Human Nature controversy in recent years seems to be centered primarily on Gender issues. If God created Man & Woman for distinct roles in the world, then where do LGBTQ humans fit into the scheme of things? Are those who refuse to remain in their rigidly-defined physical and social niches, somehow defying the law of God? Even for those who are not concerned about the laws of God, what about violating the laws of Nature?Gnomon
    Darwin didn't dispose of the idea of two sexes, nor did he blur the line between species in general. His theory blurred the line between man and nature - taking humans from their place as special creations of God and firmly placing them in the natural world. He proposed a theory of sexual selection where one sex selects features of the other sex that end up being carried over to the next generation. Sexual dimorphism is the result. Those qualities define the functions of the sexes today.

    We don't see LBGTQ in other species, only in human populations. This tells me that humans are diverse and versatile in their behaviors and societies are what put limitations on those diverse behaviors.

    The idea that sex is only for procreation is a conservative notion. Sex is a social behavior that can lead to procreation but is also a means to solidify personal relationships with other members and to relieve stress. Thanks to humans' intelligence and form (bipedal with opposable thumbs), the variety of behaviors humans can engage in can be diverse. In this sense, men can wear dresses and still be a man, but society expects different behavior from a man and limits his varied behavior. So in order to circumvent the limitation of society, they try to change into a woman so they can wear a dress. This is wrong because it just reinforces those limitations on other women who think that they don't have to wear dresses to be a woman. A man can wear a dress and still be a man. The body type of a human doesn't prevent a person from wearing a dress or pants. Society is preventing it, not our morphology or functions of our form. So wearing certain clothes is not what defines a man or a woman. One's species and sexual morphology and functions determine whether one is a man or woman.

    After a brief review, I get the impression that today the notion of fixed categories in nature is held primarily by Conservatives, both political and religious. But I suspect the topic may be vociferously debated among philosophers of various political & religious views. Non-philosophers may be expected to prefer a simple black or white scheme for Human Nature, but deeper thinkers tend to dissect their topics into smaller chunks, and into rainbow colors. Yet those fine distinctions are not so easily verified by evidence or by appeals to authority, hence leading to an infinite regression of unresolved debates.Gnomon
    This is just wrong.
    The fact is that while humans are diverse, we are more alike than we are different. Organisms share features and functions with other members of their species or sex. This allows us to put organisms into groups. These features and functions are not arbitrary creations of the mind.

    Before Darwin, different biologists, like Carl Linnaeus, came up with identical groupings of organisms thanks to the nested arrangement of life as a result of evolutionary descent. Darwin's theory explained why there is a nested arrangement of life. The natural classification of organisms itself is strong evidence for evolution.

    Take cardboard books of matches, which I used to collect. They don’t fall into a natural classification in the same way as living species. You could, for example, sort matchbooks hierarchically beginning with size, and then by country within size, color within country, and so on. Or you could start with the type of product advertised, sorting thereafter by color and then by date. There are many ways to order them, and everyone will do it differently. There is no sorting system that all collectors agree on. This is because rather than evolving, so that each matchbook gives rise to another that is only slightly different, each design was created from scratch by human whim.

    Matchbooks resemble the kinds of creatures expected under a creationist explanation of life. In such a case, organisms would not have common ancestry, but would simply result from an instantaneous creation of forms designed de novo to fit their environments. Under this scenario, we wouldn’t expect to see species falling into a nested hierarchy of forms that is recognized by all biologists.
    — Jerry Coyne - Why Evolution is True

    Only if you think that Human Nature is defined by the two sexes of the human species, as if one's sex, either male or female, exhausts what it is to be human would one think that humans can be put into only two boxes. Sex is only one function of a human, just as it for other species. If procreation were the only function of organisms then the only categories we'd need are "sexual" and "asexual".

    Biological sex is based on an amalgam of five characteristics:
    - chromosomes (XY is male, XX female)
    - genitals (penis vs. vagina)
    - gonads (testes vs. ovaries)
    - hormones (males have higher relative levels of testosterone than women, while women have higher levels of estrogen)
    - secondary sex characteristics that aren’t connected with the reproductive system but distinguish the sexes, and usually appear at puberty (breasts, facial hair, size of larynx, subcutaneous fat, etc.)

    More than 99.9% of people fall into two non-overlapping classes using just the characteristics of genitals and gonads. The the other traits almost always occur within these classes. You can do a principal components analysis using the combination of all five traits and you would find two widely separated clusters with very few people in between. Those clusters are biological realities, not mental constructions. Horses and donkeys are biological realities, even though they can produce hybrids (sterile mules) that fall morphologically in between.

    Sexual selection is a mode of natural selection where one biological sex exhibits preferences in the characteristics of the opposite sex, and those characteristics (and the preferences for them) are made more prominent in subsequent generations.

    If sex were a mental construct, sexual selection wouldn’t work: males would look identical to females. That difference itself suggests that there’s a biological reality to sex, and that this biological reality is what has caused both behavioral and morphological differences between the sexes.
  • BitconnectCarlos
    109
    I know I'm not involved in this argument, but this stuck out at me:

    We don't see LBGTQ in other species, only in human populations. This tells me that humans are diverse and versatile in their behaviors and societies are what put limitations on those diverse behaviors.

    You need to read up on penguins, sir, plus countless other species if you don't think animals engage in gay, lesbian, or bisexual activity. It really is pervasive.
  • Harry Hindu
    2.7k
    You need to read up on penguins, sir, plus countless other species if you don't think animals engage in gay, lesbian, or bisexual activity. It really is pervasive.BitconnectCarlos

    Point out the study that shows individual organisms of these species establishing same sex relationships while abstaining completely from heterosexual relationships. Only humans do that. At best other organisms are bi-sexual as opposed to strictly homosexual.
  • BitconnectCarlos
    109


    https://books.google.com/books?id=EftT_1bsPOAC&pg=PA179#v=onepage&q&f=false

    Page 179 on Ovis Aries.

    Last time I checked bisexuality is part of the LGBTQ group as well. Nature is pretty wild.
  • Harry Hindu
    2.7k
    Domesticated sheep? I was asking about species that developed naturally as a result of natural selection. Ironic how the only species you can point to are ones that were domesticated by humans.
  • BitconnectCarlos
    109


    I feel like we're just not agreeing on what "gay" means from LGBTQ. I'm from the US and in the US a gay man can still have sex with a woman and still be considered gay. It's just not as black-and-white as you take it to be, at least that's how we see things here. You treat it like it's an all or nothing thing.

    You were totally right earlier on in your discussion with Gnonom where you said Darwin blurred the line between man and nature. Homosexuality activity is pervasive in nature and it's not uncommon to see same-sex pairings and I'm sure if we were able to follow matings habits out in the wild we'd see animals who appear to have a strong preference for same-sex mating based on their activity. It's the same for humans. That's all I'm talking -- a strong preference for same sex mating.
  • Harry Hindu
    2.7k
    I don't understand what "bisexual" means if "homosexual" includes being attracted to the opposite sex as well.
  • Gnomon
    425
    Darwin didn't dispose of the idea of two sexes, nor did he blur the line between species in general. His theory blurred the line between man and nature - taking humans from their place as special creations of God and firmly placing them in the natural world.Harry Hindu
    Good point. The argument between Conservatives (religious & political) and Progressives seems to be about the scientific deconstruction of what one side views as a proper & fitting Natural Hierarchy, not just of sexes, but of species and various other demarcations of reasonable categories. The conservative side seems to prefer simple authoritative distinctions (special creation), while progressives prefer some leeway to interpret those classifications as they see fit. That may be why, as I said in the OP, my brief online review turned-up far more objections to the concept of continual evolution from a conservative perspective.

    [note : I'm neither conservative nor liberal, but a bit of both. So, I'm trying to see where & why extremists draw their true/false, good/bad lines.]

    This is just wrong.Harry Hindu
    Of course, that evaluation depends on your personal perspective. Right & Wrong are human moralistic categories. The moral authority of Nature is a rhetorical tactic labeled by philosophers as the Naturalistic Fallacy. And it is opposed to the Super-naturalistic Fallacy of monotheism. Nature-in-general is amoral, but Natural Selection seems to have an agenda of some kind. Pros and Cons can argue endlessly about what that the selective criteria might be : local adaptive efficiency or a teleological purpose, etc.

    Under this scenario, we wouldn’t expect to see species falling into a nested hierarchy of forms that is recognized by all biologists. — Jerry Coyne - Why Evolution is True
    Ironically, that's exactly why anti-evolutionists look to a divine creator to explain such rational (as opposed to random) organization. :smile:
  • Gnomon
    425
    I'm still reading the book by David Berlinsky, Human Nature, so I've come to realize that he's not primarily concerned with most of the sex/gender topics discussed in this thread. Instead, he wrote a series of essays criticizing the implicit worldviews of several prominent writers on Scientific/Progressive interpretations of Human Nature in past and future history. The list includes Steven Pinker, Yuval Hariri, and Noam Chomsky, among others.

    For example, his first direct attack is on Pinker's, The Better Angels of Our Nature, which found historical evidence that human-on-human violence has declined since the Enlightenment Era, when humans began to rely more on human Reason than super-human Revelation to establish moral boundaries. Both writers are secular Jews, but one is a social scientist, and the other a philosopher/mathematician. Yet, Berlinski ridicules Pinker's copious research and his interpretation of statistical trends. Pinker's reading of the numerical tea leaves is optimistic, in the sense that evolution is heading in a positive direction, while Berlinski's translation of the arcane numbers is just the opposite : "Things could not be getting better, gentler, or kinder, because they are not changing at all." That seems to assume the doctrine of Original Sin. which is ironic for a secular Jew.

    Berlinski's negative bias also seems to be the opinion of religious Fundamentalists, who are expecting the imminent annihilation of a sinful world. In other words, the world started at the apex of perfection, and has gone downhill from there. By contrast, Pinker and his lot see the slope going uphill, from vicious amoral ancestors toward a better breed (maybe even AI or robots) that have learned from their mistakes. So one writer views Human Nature as inherently bad and worthy of global genocide, while the other sees innate imperfections, but also potential for improvement via Reason rather than by destruction of this failed experiment, and a do-over in a New World.

    Humans can't seem to agree on Human Nature : are we essentially Bad, or essentially Good, or a bit of both? My wishy-washy worldview (BothAnd) agrees with the latter. Nobody is forced by human nature to "break bad", nor to sprout wings of angels. Instead, we are like pioneers blazing a trail into the wilderness, and making life-or-death choices without knowing what paradise or desert lies over the next mountain. But are our choices made freely, or by destiny? :chin:
  • Walter B
    35
    Well, I think that in modern times human nature is be defended with nothing but genetic arguments. If so, then essentialism wouldn't be the only way to make a case for there being human nature. Genetic arguments for human nature are philosophically neutral in regards to categories in the relevant philosophical sense.
  • Walter B
    35
    Do you like Berlinski's book? How good are his criticisms of Chomsky, Pinker and the rest?
  • BitconnectCarlos
    109


    I only mentioned having sex with... not being attracted to. Many gay men report having sex with women, do you think that doesn't make them gay? If a straight guy experiences same sex attraction for like a couple seconds does that make him bisexual?
  • Gnomon
    425
    Do you like Berlinski's book? How good are his criticisms of Chomsky, Pinker and the rest?Walter B
    I'm reading the book, Human Nature, in order to get a different perspective on Essentialism from the usual Darwinian concept of continuous evolution, and emerging species. Berlinski is an academic intellectual, and a secular Jew, not a religious fundamentalist --- even though he works with the Discovery Institute, a fundamentalist Protestant think tank known for its publishing of Intelligent Design arguments. He supports his critiques with long strings of mathematical logical symbolism, and technical language not appropriate for general audiences.

    Berlinski claims that he does not support the theory of Intelligent Design. But he is famous for attacking the theory of random Evolution (which I also have a problem with). Specifically, in this book he attacks, not specifically atheists, but anyone who is optimistic about positive human evolution. He seems to accept the Genesis notion of "fixed kinds", although he apparently does not accept its divine authority. In general, Berlinski has no use for religion, but he seems to be a contrarian by nature. So he objects to the tone of certainty in the writings of evolutionists -- but not to the Bible-bias of Intelligent Design proponents.

    His criticisms of evolutionary optimists are very detailed, but mostly boil down to "I see no evidence to support the notion of evolutionary progress". As a writer on arcane mathematical topics, he feels confident that his negative interpretation of Pinker's statistical evidence is rational & scientific, while Pinker's optimism is emotional and pseudo-scientific --- based on a prior commitment to an atheistic Darwinian worldview. I'm not a strict atheistic Darwinist, but I'm also not a theistic Intelligent Design defender. Instead, I have developed my own worldview that is somewhere in the Aristotelian mean between extreme positions. So, I enjoyed reading Berlinski's exposition of one extreme view, but my cautiously optimistic position is closer to that of Pinker.
  • Gnomon
    425
    Genetic arguments for human nature are philosophically neutral in regards to categories in the relevant philosophical sense.Walter B
    Apparently, Berlinski believes that mainstream biologists are biased in favor of atheistic interpretations of the genetic evidence. Hence, not to be trusted. But, since he claims to be a non-theist, it's hard to see how he arrives at his non-Darwinian rendition, which he supports mostly by criticizing the opposition.

    I personally, have a non-theist, non-accidental understanding of biological evolution, but it's not the neither fish-nor-fowl [neither-theist-nor-atheist] view of Berlinski. It's based on the positive evidence of progressive enformation.


    Enformation : noun - The creative power of Evolution; the power to enform; Logos; Change.
  • Relativist
    999
    I'd like to see what others on this forum have to say about Essentialism in general, and Gender Categories in particular. :cool:Gnomon
    If there were natural kinds, there would be a set of properties that are necessary and sufficient for belonging to that kind. That is the case for things like the elements of the periodic table, but not for living things like geese, koalas, and bacteria.

    Individual essence is also problematic, because again - it would entail there being a set of necessary and sufficient properties for being that individual. There is no such set.

    You mention gender, so are you distinguishing gender from sex? There's clearly a genetic distinction between animals with xy vs xx chromosomes (sex). Gender roles are less clear-cut, and I don't think we could identify a set of necessary and sufficient properties for being considered a male vs female gender role person - it's a spectrum.
  • Wayfarer
    9.2k
    Berlinski's negative bias also seems to be the opinion of religious Fundamentalists, who are expecting the imminent annihilation of a sinful world. In other words, the world started at the apex of perfection, and has gone downhill from there.Gnomon

    Berllinksi is allied with (actually a senior fellow of) the Discovery Institute which is the central ID organisation in the states so his disavowal of ID seems disingenuous. Which is not to say that everything he or they say are mistaken or incorrect, but it does say something about the underlying worldview. I agree with some of their criticisms of biological materialism, but I shy away from anything that sounds like biblical fundamentalism or literalism.

    Philosophically, a lot of the problems arise from the rejection of formal and final causality at the beginning of early modern science, and the attribution of active agency to matter. There’s your materialist program in a nutshell.
  • Gnomon
    425
    Individual essence is also problematic, because again - it would entail there being a set of necessary and sufficient properties for being that individual. There is no such set.Relativist
    If you are talking about the "essence" of a human person in the sense of a distinctive Self or Soul, I suspect that Berlinski would disagree. But since he didn't attempt to define his own notion of Essence in philosophical terms, I can only guess what his position is from his troll-like put-downs of Darwinists, rather than positive assertions. That's my main disappointment with the book. I was looking for an intuitive understanding of where he would draw the line between one essence and another, not a mathematical exposition.*1

    For example, he discusses Quantitative mathematical Set Theory to define what's wrong with the Qualitative biological Species theory, and the annoying "politically-correct" rainbow gender categories of LGBTQ. His counter-argument was so technical that I failed to follow the implications. I suppose he would describe his two-value gender range as "scientific", and dismiss multi-value Queer categories as political Neo-Marxism, rather than democratic fairness.

    I could better follow his oblique references to Venn diagrams, but again he seems to limit the real-world options to Either/Or; ignoring the human tendency to make finer-grained distinctions based on both rational analysis, and personal feelings. Where would Ockham draw the line? :shade:


    CONFUSING GENDER DIAGRAMS, after science and politics got involved
    ddb78a3f460f095640691e39152599547f16f366v2_00.jpg

    SIMPLE TRADITIONAL GENDER CATEGORIES, back in the golden age
    fig-ch03_11_02.jpg

    *1 Berlinski sometimes seems to be more interested in demonstrating his genius than in communicating to a general audience. For example, he adds some short addendum chapters entirely in foreign languages. And seems to think the fact that he lives in Paris makes him a more genuine intellectual than his American roots would indicate.
  • Gnomon
    425
    Philosophically, a lot of the problems arise from the rejection of formal and final causality at the beginning of early modern science, and the attribution of active agency to matter. There’s your materialist program in a nutshell.Wayfarer
    Yes. Years ago I intuitively realized that the evolving world seemed to be directed by some kind of "active agency", rather than by random accidents. Yet the biblical myth of creation was a bit too naive & archaic to reconcile with modern knowledge. However, materialistic Science has no answer to philosophical Qualia questions. So I looked to the notions of Formal & Final Causality to fill-in the blanks.

    Since I had long ago lost faith in biblical inerrancy, I have pieced together a modern Evolution Myth of my own, based on our current knowledge of the central causal role of Physical/Meta-physical Information in the world. Enformationism is a consilience of ancient Intuition and modern Science, of both Physics and Metaphysics, of both Creation and Evolution. That BothAnd philosophy is guaranteed to offend extremists on both sides of the Science vs Religion divide. :smile:


    Active Agency : EnFormAction --- http://bothandblog2.enformationism.info/page29.html
  • David Mo
    100
    Point out the study that shows individual organisms of these species establishing same sex relationships while abstaining completely from heterosexual relationships. Only humans do that.Harry Hindu

    I suppose he would describe his two-value gender range as "scientific", and dismiss multi-value Queer categories as political Neo-Marxism, rather than democratic fairness.Gnomon

    I don't know what it has to do with the legitimacy of being homosexual that penguins are homosexual, that Darwin established the difference between species or that science (which, biology, sociology, semantics?) maintains a clear distinction between sexual genders.

    Chimpanzees exercise sex between males as a social activity and are cannibal. I don't think that either of these things is definitive of chimpanzee essence, much less that it has to do with a supposed human essence. I don't think Darwinism can impart ethical standards and I don't think human beings are natural at their present state. In its origin, it can be.

    The question is: is this good or is this bad? The rest is entangling the problem.
  • frank
    4k
    The question is: is this good or is this bad? The rest is entangling the problem.David Mo

    For Jews and Christians, the answer to that was traditionally associated with the belief that males are supposed to be dominant, and so above and penetrating.

    Homosexuality was seen as defiance of something essential because it meant that at least one man was taking a feminine position.

    The fact that this "essence" wasnt detected by other cultures was seen as proof of their degradation. So it's not just that homosexuality was bad, failure to understand the essence behind that judgement was bad.

    The issue comes already entangled.
  • Harry Hindu
    2.7k
    CONFUSING GENDER DIAGRAMS, after science and politics got involvedGnomon

    Not science, politics. I already showed that science proves that two genders are the biological realities.

    The traditional diagram is also political.

    The scientific diagram would have two equally sized circles.

    Politics cherrypicks science, or makes up its own facts, like men can feel like a woman when wearing a dress, to support its own agendas.
  • Gnomon
    425
    Berllinksi is allied with (actually a senior fellow of) the Discovery Institute which is the central ID organisation in the states so his disavowal of ID seems disingenuous.Wayfarer
    OptionsGnomon
    As I said before, Berlinski seems to be a contrarian by nature --- it's the essence of his personality. In the book, he describes his younger self as a "high-school bully" --- probably because he was smarter than the other kids. In an interview by Evolution News --- a Discovery Institute publication --- he was challenged to share his "hunches and suspicions about spiritual reality". His response was "No. Either I cannot, or I will not." So I suppose, as a teacher of Logic, he is confused or agnostic about such non-logical multi-valued issues.

    I also assume that his reasons for criticizing of materialistic evolution theory is similar to mine : no place for Qualia. But, I don't know for sure, because he never articulated his view beyond accusing evo proponents of being "corrupted by a partisan, a political agenda, and so do not count as truths at all". Apparently acceptance or rejection of the concept of progressive evolution is "a matter mostly of taste." But that's not the kind of analysis of Essentialism I was looking for. So, my search continues.
  • Gnomon
    425
    Not science, politics. I already showed that science proves that two genders are the biological realities.Harry Hindu
    Biological science does indeed assume two fundamental genders. But it also has found genes that don't fit neatly into the simple binary assumption. Besides, Social science has documented a wide range of cultural attitudes toward gender roles. And the science of Ethology has found that the boundaries of animal gender roles are flexible. Moreover, academic Ethical studies of animal behavior have applied human political values to non-humans, with the usual room for savage debates.

    For most practical purposes, I assume that the human essence is either male or female. But when politics and human rights get involved, I must be more flexible to be fair. Is TV host/hostess Ellen male or female? I can only say that she/he is whatever she/he says she/he is. Whew! Political correctness is confusing for us simple-minded folks. :cool:

    Male or Female? : http://newsroom.ucla.edu/stories/male-or-female

    Scientific Study of Animal Behavior : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethology

    Ethical Animal Studies :https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_studies
  • Harry Hindu
    2.7k
    Biological science does indeed assume two fundamental genders. But it also has found genes that don't fit neatly into the simple binary assumption. Besides, Social science has documented a wide range of cultural attitudes toward gender roles. And the science of Ethology has found that the boundaries of animal gender roles are flexible. Moreover, academic Ethical studies of animal behavior have applied human political values to non-humans, with the usual room for savage debates.Gnomon
    Sure, there are genes that have nothing to do with sex, because our sex is only part of what it means to be an sexual organism vs. an asexual organism. Other animals have vaginas and penises, so having a vagina or penis isn't what makes you a human. What makes you a human is being bipedal, having opposable thumbs and a large brain. This means that human's behaviors can vary widely - independent of one's sex. Humans can wear any different types of clothes. There is nothing the physically inhibits a woman from wearing pants. There is a physical limitation of being able to urinate while standing up without getting urine all over your legs. There is a physical limitation that inhibits men from have a menstrual cycle and giving birth. So there are a small number of behaviors that are restricted to just men or women, while all the other behaviors is what it means to be a human instead of just a female or male of the human species.

    This is why it is sexist to impose these limitations on the sexes - because they aren't actual physical limitations. They are cultural/psychological limitations. It is sexist to say that women can't wear pants because there is nothing that physically limits a woman from wearing pants. And when a man comes along and says that wearing a dress is what makes them a woman, then that reinforces those sexist notions. A man can still be a man and wear a dress and a woman is still a woman when she wears pants.

    For most practical purposes, I assume that the human essence is either male or female. But when politics and human rights get involved, I must be more flexible to be fair. Is TV host/hostess Ellen male or female? I can only say that she/he is whatever she/he says she/he is. Whew! Political correctness is confusing for us simple-minded folks.Gnomon
    Male and female are only a fraction of what it means to be a human. If that weren't the case, then all sexual species would qualify as human. As I said, humans have features that aren't sexual that distinguish them from other species.

    When we have instances where humans claim that they are something that they aren't, like an alien, the reincarnation of Elvis Presley, or your son, and the reasons that they aren't what they say they are is their morphology and the behaviors that go along with that morphology, then why do we make an exception for one's sex?
  • Gnomon
    425
    the reasons that they aren't what they say they are is their morphology and the behaviors that go along with that morphology, then why do we make an exception for one's sex?Harry Hindu
    I assume we make an exception to the rule of binary genders for people like Ellen, because we realize they are not talking about objective morphology, but about subjective emotions and psychological self-image. When Americans see an Asian looking person, they may assume their religion is Buddhism. But that's simply an example of racial/cultural ignorance and prejudice, because religious beliefs are not limited by physical morphology. Likewise, gender identity is a belief, not a physical fact.

    If I meet a person who claims to be a Martian Priestess of Barsoom, the PC thing to do would be to welcome the priestess to our little pale blue dot, without criticizing her idiotic illusion. But, if we get into a philosophical discussion of Barsoomian theology --- which involves a trinity of genders --- a frank, but respectful, critique might be appropriate. :smile:
  • Gnomon
    425
    But that's not the kind of analysis of Essentialism I was looking for. So, my search continues.Gnomon
    Most philosophical and religious traditions assume that each human individual has a unique essence (a Soul) that defines him and distinguishes him from other humans and animals. Opinions on the exact nature of that essence are various though. For example, the Buddha referred to the notion of "I" and "me" as an illusion. He didn't deny that we have a self-image, only that it is an actual thing. Instead, it is a personal & cultural belief, an image of something immaterial, that in Western traditions is envisioned as some eternal unchanging invisible substance like a ghost made of supernatural ectoplasm.

    For the Buddha to call the Self-image an "illusion", was merely to disparage its role in human suffering. But in Evolution, the emergence of a self-image also gave humans the power to change their environment to suit their personal desires. The Soul represents me as an agent with power over nature, like a little god. But, as the Buddha observed pessimistically, that power is a two-edged sword. If we desire to be warm in winter, we can make fire to ward-off the suffering of cold weather. But that same useful tool can cause the suffering of too much heat, if it gets out of control. Nevertheless, it's a two-sided coin that can be biased by optimism to land on the bright side of desires fulfilled, thereby allowing us to persevere despite setbacks.

    I doubt that anyone can deny that humans, and some animals, have a self-image. As demonstrated by Descartes, my reasoning Self is the only thing I know for sure. But, is it a will'o'wisp of fleeting imagination, or something more durable that can survive death? Is the Soul a gift of God, or of Evolution? Is it a spark of divinity, or merely a tool for genetic survival? These are some of the Essential questions that I was looking for insight on.
  • Harry Hindu
    2.7k
    If I meet a person who claims to be a Martian Priestess of Barsoom, the PC thing to do would be to welcome the priestess to our little pale blue dot, without criticizing her idiotic illusion. But, if we get into a philosophical discussion of Barsoomian theology --- which involves a trinity of genders --- a frank, but respectful, critique might be appropriateGnomon
    If my beliefs contradict yours, who determines whose belief deserves to be protected? I've been called things that I'm not and I dont try to take away their right to call me that. One of the symptoms of a delusion is that you are deeply offended by those that question your delusion.

    Political correctness in a society with free speech would entail protecting everyone's right to speak freely. Limiting free speech in a free speech society would be politically incorrect.
  • David Mo
    100
    The fact that this "essence" wasnt detected by other cultures was seen as proof of their degradation. So it's not just that homosexuality was bad, failure to understand the essence behind that judgement was bad.frank

    Even if there were an objective method of knowing the human essence, it would be irrelevant to determine whether an essential trait is good or bad.

    For example, let's say homo homini lupus. This does not mean that jumping down someone else's throat is good. It would be advisable to control human nature at this point.

    There are two main ideologies that use and abuse the supposed goodness of human nature. Religions and social Darwinism. United extremes.
  • frank
    4k
    Even if there were an objective method of knowing the human essence, it would be irrelevant to determine whether an essential trait is good or bad.David Mo

    I think you mean it would be irrelevant for the purposes of a logical argument which hopes to conclude that X is bad. Moral frameworks that reference either nature or the "God given" aren't utilizing logic. In those cases it's wrapped up in a worldview (or philosophical outlook) that nature and goodness are linked.

    There are two main ideologies that use and abuse the supposed goodness of human nature. Religions and social Darwinism. United extremes.David Mo

    So lets leave religion and social Darwinism behind (along with all the other cultural founts that embraced that view). Let's be the wiggling fungi attached to a rock hurtling through nowhere on the way to nowhere.

    What's good and bad now?
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